New PennDOT data shows roundabouts safer for intersections

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation on Monday announced new data that shows improved safety statistics at intersections that use roundabouts to funnel traffic. The 19 roundabouts sampled are intersections that were previously controlled with stop signs or signals.

The agency found that the potential for serious injuries had been reduced by 90% over the last several years. PennDOT also figures that the total number of crashes at a give sampled intersection decreased by 34%. All of this, according to the department, lowers the potential fatalities from two to zero.

One such roundabout can be found on Chester Road near Swarthmore College. Motorists there say the roundabout required an adjustment period, but has helped the flow of traffic. 

"Once you figure out how to drive in them, it's fine," Sebastian Rimehaug said. "Just a little adjusting."

Unlike its close traffic pattern relative, the jughandle, a roundabout only has one lane to help traffic cycle safer. 

PennDOT says roundabouts are an innovative traffic solution for calming traffic and facilitating pedestrian mobility. However, topography and proximity issues force city officials to opt for more traditional intersections.

“We are glad to promote the use of roundabouts throughout the commonwealth,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said in a statement.

“The facts speak for themselves: Roundabouts save lives and reduce crash severity over standard stop or signal controlled intersections.”